February 14th 1990, the international day of love, was marked by a departure of NASA’s Voyager 1 into the open space and out of the Solar System. Carl Sagan, a writer and a scientist, asked NASA to take a few photos from Voyager 1 before it left for good. What resulted was the photo you see above, taken at a 4-billion-miles throw from our planet.

No one expected these beautiful family portraits to have such a strong impact. “I confess that I still feel the childlike excitement,” said NASA scientist Candice Hansen-Koharcheck. “Earth was so small and yet looked so special in the beautiful beams of space light.”

Carl Sagan himself wrote about his perception of the photos 4 years later, in his written work “Pale Blue Dot: A Perspective on the Humankind Future in Space.”

The book contains his words:

“Our planet may not seem significant or of any interest from this viewpoint. But it’s not like that for us. Look at that small pale dot once again. It is here. It is our home. It’s where we are right now.

It is where we live, we fight, we love, we lose and we win. Everybody you know and everybody you are yet to meet, everybody who has ever existed.

This is where happiness and pain meet, a place for hundreds of religious doctrines, scientific and cultural mindsets, all the hunters and foragers, heroes and cowards, all the creators of nations and destroyers of cities, all queens and tramps, all the lovers and haters, parents and children, inventors and travelers, puritanical teachers and bribe-taking politicians, celebrities and political leaders, all the monks and devils have lived here – on that tiny blue dot of space particles glued together in the beams of Sun.”

These words embody to a great extent the very aim of NASA’s scientific and exploration activity. They translate the vision of Earth and its people, us humans, as one undividable unity. Indeed, when it comes to us against the open space, we need to stand together and explore it as one. NASA collects and makes available more data than it can manage efficiently, not to mention – process which is what EOS Data Analytics solutions in earth observation and imagery analytics are for. One of the ways to convey their values is the worldwide NASA Space Apps Challenge hackathon.

Since 2012, when the first ever Challenge took place, this event has significantly grown in volume and scale. For instance, this year’s challenge in Ukraine received support from Noosphere Ventures and Max Polyakov, while on the global scale in 2017 the Space Apps gathered together as many as 69 nationalities in 187 host locations across the globe, with 25 000 scientists participating. Everybody who took part in the challenge tried to see the Earth as one brotherhood and to provide the mankind with more possibilities of space exploration.

More countries were invited and encouraged to join this year’s Challenge comparing to last year. Here is the list of new cities that adhered to the global process:

Europe – Dnipro, Ukraine

Association Noosphere, founded by Max Polyakov, has put much effort into enabling this industrial Ukrainian city to join the initiative. There were 10 teams in total who proposed their projects; among them, was the nominee for people’s choice award – a project of a simulation room that allows engineers and designers to work in a simulated spaceship and thus have a better understanding of how astronauts work in space, in order to improve their working conditions.

South America – Jardim Aclimacao, Brasil

228 participants divided into 24 teams adhered to the Challenge in Brazil. A few new inventions were suggested, among which there was a technology that allows the reduction of sun rays’ exposure by using NASA-derived data and reduce chances of getting skin cancer.

Africa – Alexandria, Egypt

The sponsorship was provided by the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport in Al Omraneyah Al Gharbeyah, Egypt. The overall number of participants was 1070, who were part of 55 teams.

Asia – Singapore

Singapore is a technology-driven city, and there were many enthusiasts willing to participate. Sponsored by SG Innovate, the Singapore challenge united 93 people into 11 teams, that produced stunning projects.

We would like to congratulate these teams on increasing our understanding of the tiny cloud of space particles we live on. As Carl Sagan said, “this far-away picture of this small worlds of ours … highlights our obligation to treat each other with greater respect and appreciation, and cherish that pale blue dot, the one home we’ll ever know.”

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